I have been writing a blog since 2008 and I have worked as a blog editor/manager and ghost blogger since 2009. Every week or so, I have someone ask me about how to start a blog.
This is by no means an exhaustive explanation, but I offer you my best overall tips for how to start a blog:
1. First, decide where you see the blog going—will it be for hobby or for profit? Would you EVER want to make money on the blog? Even if you don’t think you’ll want to make money on the blog, I believe you should set up as if you did. Here’s why.
When you set up the blog with its own URL and its own hosting, you own it. You are not at the mercy of some large blog network. You are also able to earn affiliate commissions and/or place ads on the blog and earn revenue from them.You can do all of these steps for less than $20 a month, and I believe it’s worth it.
2. Next, you’ll want to determine your blog’s URL and/or name. This can be tricky. If your personal name is available, it may be a good idea to use that. Or if you have a clever name as a title for your blog and it’s available as a URL, use that. I think it’s mostly personal preference and how you plan to grow in branding. Generally speaking, go with a .com and make the URL one word with no numbers, hyphens, weird spellings, etc.
3. Buy your URL from a registrar. You will also need to purchase a hosting account. You can do both of these with my favorite hosting company, Mom Webs. For a small fee, they will also set everything up for you with WordPress installed, so that you are ready to begin posting immediately. I think it’s well worth it, but if you are sort of techy and enjoy figuring those type of things out for yourself (that’s me!), then you can totally do it yourself.
4. The next step is posting to your blog. If you are starting this blog for profit, then it’s truly best to think through an editorial direction for the blog. Determine your main topic and how you will deliver that to your reader. Identify your target reader and craft your content to serve those people.
For example, if your main topic centers around gourmet coffee, then you may want to use written posts and videos to reach your readers. Let’s say your target reader is women aged 35-60 who enjoy making gourmet coffee at home. Your editorial plan may include posts about how to find the best brands of gourmet coffee, what is the best coffee maker, how to save money making your own gourmet coffee, and so on.
Maybe you also post videos once a week of new specialty coffee drink recipes.If you do decide to create a niche (this is called “niche” when it is specifically focused on a targeted topic and demographic) blog, it’s super-important that you are passionate about the topic. Passion is even more important than knowledge, in my opinion. Even if you know very little about the topic, you can invite the reader along on your journey as you learn more about it. Passion will also sustain your interest in the subject matter when the blogging journey becomes tedious and challenging (as it sometimes does).
Niche blogs can be huge money-makers, and many have done well with them. If you are interested in learning from the best on how to do this, I recommend reading Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income. I have toyed with the idea of publishing a niche blog (purely for profit, not necessarily a topic I’m in love with), but the passion component stops me every time. Some people are terrific at publishing on a niche topic (which they may not have a lot of personal experience or inherent passion for), but they are passionate about the process and the business. Definitely consider all of these as you think about your new blog.
5. If you are creating a hobby blog, then, obviously, editorial strategy is not of primary importance. But anytime you can incorporate a little bit of forethought and planning to your posting, it will serve your readers well.
Those are the basic steps to setting up a new blog. You’ll want to follow the best advice from blogging pros as you consider starting a blog. These are just a few of my favorite bloggers with links to their sites:
- I can’t recommend highly enough Mom Webs Hosting for help with getting your new blog up and running. They have the best customer service and tech support. I think they excel at serving the newbie and those who are less “techy” when more serious glitches come up with your website (not that I would know anything about that – ahem!).
- Are you wondering if blogging as a business is for you? Or maybe you’d like to further explore other ideas and opportunities for a home business, which could be supported with a blog. If this is you, you’ll want to download my free ebook, 5 Easy Steps to Discover the Home-based Business That’s Perfect for You.
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Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.
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